U.S. Hall of Fame Presents Class of 2003
|The U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame Class of 2003: Chuck Foster, Choeleen Loundagin (representing Skippy Baxter), Elaine Zayak and Doug Wilson.|
The USFSA and the USFSA's Hall of Fame Electors announced the induction of four individuals into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 2003 inductees are Elaine Zayak, Charles "Chuck" Foster, Doug Wilson and Skippy Baxter. (Choeleen Loundagin, one of Baxter's former pupils who coaches with him at Redwood Ice Arena, accepted the honor on behalf of Baxter.)
The U.S. Hall of Fame will formally inducted the "Class of 2003" during an on-ice presentation at the 2003 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Friday, Jan. 17, immediately following the championship pairs competition. The inductees will also be honored at an U.S. Hall of Fame reception following the presentation.
Most athletes would be content with a career that included a U.S. junior title (1979), U.S. title (1981) and World title (1982) and an Olympic top-10 finish. For Elaine Zayak, the opportunity to compete almost a decade after turning professional returned one of the brightest stars in U.S. skating to the amateur ranks. A professional skater for five years and retired since 1989, Zayak returned to the sport she loved in 1994 when the ISU allowed professionals to be reinstated. Along with a number of other skaters, Zayak competed in the 1994 U.S. Championships exactly 10 years after her last U.S. Championship appearance. At the age of 28, Zayak was attempting to qualify for the 1994 U.S. Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Zayak placed fourth at the 1994 U.S. Championships and was an alternate for the 1994 U.S. Olympic Team. Zayak commented that the experience was well worth it. "I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it as well or even better than I had before and I wanted to show other people that a 28-year-old woman can still compete." Over the course of her career, Zayak claimed every color medal at both the U.S. and World Championships.
Zayak again returned to the professional ranks following the 1994 season before turning her attention to coaching and family life. Today, Zayak resides in River Vale, N.J., with her husband, John Berg. The couple had their first child, John Brendan Berg in August, 2002.
Charles "Chuck" Foster
Chuck Foster has been involved in the sport of figure skating in the U.S. on all levels since childhood. As a competitor, Foster represented the Skating Club of Boston and was the 1955 U.S. junior pairs champion with partner Maribel Y. Owen.
A graduate of Harvard University, Foster stayed involved the sport following his competitive skating career as a judge and a referee. Attaining the level of world judge, he has and continues to preside over numerous international competitions including the 1976, '79 and '86 World Figure Skating Championships. As a world-level referee, he has worked the 1981, '87, '98 and '99 World Championships and most recently served as the assistant referee of the ladies competition at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
Outside of the arena, Foster has been a very important contributor to the development of the sport, serving as an administrator with the USFSA, ISU and the USOC. He served as USFSA vice president from 1988-89 and was a member of the USFSA Board of Directors for 17 years. He also served as the USFSA representative to the ISU from 1989-90. He served as the USOC secretary from 1989-96 and was the Chef De Mission for the 1994 U.S. Olympic Team in Lillehammer, Norway. Foster currently resides Duxbury, Mass.
|ABC Sports producer/director Doug Wilson shows off his Hall of Fame award.|
Wilson is the long time producer/director of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for ABC Sports. He has participated in the TV production of 10 Olympic Winter Games, beginning in Innsbruck in 1964 and was co-producer of the 20th and 25th anniversary specials of ABC's Wide World of Sports. At the Calgary Olympics in 1988, Wilson was responsible for the coverage of figure skating as well as the closing ceremony. Again, at the 1996 World Championships in Edmonton, Canada and the 1998 World Championships in Minneapolis, he covered the sport for the world broadcasters and audiences estimated at 400 million.
Wilson is the winner of 17 Emmys, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports Directing from the Directors Guild of America, the Distinguished Service Award from the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation for his Production of the International Special Olympics. The USFSA selected him for the Spirit of Giving Award and he was honored by the Ice Theater of New York for his contributions to the art of figure skating. A graduate of Colgate University, he has lectured at Colgate, Ithaca College, the University of Southern California, the Naval War College, American University in Washington D.C., and for IBM where he taught "The Creative Process."
Wilson resides in Irvington, N.Y., with his wife Betsy.
Born in Weldon, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1919, Baxter began skating when his family moved to Oakland, Calif., in the late 1920s when he was 9 years old. In addition to figure skating, he was also a speed skater, losing the national title by one-tenth of a second when he was 17. He won the Pacific Coast Championship in 1929, but with the start of World War II, he turned pro. Baxter served with the famed 10th Mountain Division in Northern Italy.
Following the war, he skated with Sonja Henie's ice show for many years and also had a leading role at Rockefeller Center ice shows. He was one of the first skaters to do a double Axel and a triple Salchow in shows. Baxter continues to teach figure skating on a daily basis at Redwood Empire Ice Arena in Santa Rosa, Calif., where he currently resides with his wife Phyllis. Baxter has one son, David and a daughter, Debbie.
(Choeleen Loundagin, one of Baxter's former pupils who coaches with him at Redwood Ice Arena, accepted the honor on behalf of Baxter.)